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How do you feel about playing multiple characters?


How do you feel about playing multiple characters?  

33 members have voted

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    • Positive
      22
    • Negative
      7
    • Other
      4


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I was thinking about building the narrative of a singleplayer game through several different characters, as is done in Longest journey: Dreamfall or Fahrenheit/Indigo prophecy. A game where you as a player jump into a different character for this and that stretch of the game and experience the story from several perspectives throughout. TV and films do this sort of thing all the time, but its not that common in gaming.

 

 

Now my question is wether you are positive or negative to this kind of setup? And if you could explain why in some detail.

 

 

 

p.s

To clarify, Im not talking about switching between characters in a party or group. What Im suggesting is a game where you for one part play say a policeman, and other parts you play a journalist and others a drugdealer. Each a separate character, but that plays a part in the large story that sees the fates of all these characters tied together in the end.

 

 

edit: the poll broke, fixing.

Edited by Kaftan Barlast

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There are games that have done it well, but overall it is pretty jarring. I think it is very different than movies or TV because you are actually controlling the character. You invest yourself into one person, and then you get jumped to another.

 

Indigo Prophecy did it well though, and it was necessary to move the storyline forward.

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I've seen a lot of this in Japanese games.

 

They did this in Dragon Quest IV and Mother 3, in both cases for the purpose of splitting you between different perspectives to control the rate at which you got pieces of story information.

 

Siren: same idea, basically, and the segments are played out of chronological order.

 

Running into an NPC you formerly controlled as a PC can be weird. The guy you control at the beginning of Clock Tower (PSX) turns out to be the slasher-killer at the end.

 

There's an idea: a sort of Bodysnatchers game where your intimately familiar PC becomes replaced by a frightening NPC drone.

 

Could also be interesting to try something like swapping you through multiple characters in early chapters, roughly defining their personalities based on how you play them, then throwing them all together at the end, their interactions defined by how you "configured" them--like Dragon Quest IV, but with actual roleplaying.

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I think it would be cool to have a game take place over multiple generations: play the first part of the game as the father, the second as the son, and finish the game as the granddaughter. This also means that romances can be more significant, since the girl you get cozy with in one part could be your mom in the next one, and will influence what choices you have for that second character.

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Multiple viewpoints in a game is like multiple viewpoints in a novel. It broadens the scope of the action and can add complexity and novelty, but at the same time it's important to make each character unique and not water down player identification with the characters.

 

It

Edited by Maria Caliban

"When is this out. I can't wait to play it so I can talk at length about how bad it is." - Gorgon.

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I voted no. Its just a personal preference but I don't even like novels in which there is switiching between characters. The Malazan Books of the FAllen that MC mentioned are tough for me because ther are so many charaacters that the noevls tend to lose forward momentum and I struggle to maintain interest in what is going on.

 

 

I hate it when just as you get caught up into one character's arc, boom! the story arc switches to another arc. Makes me want to stop reading. Its one of the thigns that hurt my interest in RObert Jordan's books. Too many pov characters. Way too many. If a book is well written I can tolerate 2 or 3 different story arcs, such as in Glen Cooks Instrumentalities of the NIght, but even there I fidn I have to take breaks when the story arcs switch or I'll just end up skipping through the next arc to get back to the one I was reading.

 

Its always kind of amusing in a painful way to see so many authors who have problems handling a one character POV try to do a novel with 7.

 

One character well told and well developed is worth 50 feeble ones.

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I think it would be cool to have a game take place over multiple generations: play the first part of the game as the father, the second as the son, and finish the game as the granddaughter. This also means that romances can be more significant, since the girl you get cozy with in one part could be your mom in the next one, and will influence what choices you have for that second character.

Check out Dragon Quest V.

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Depends on the gameplay, I think. I think it's especially good for adventure or FPS games where your character & abilities don't change that much anyway - you don't feel like you're cheated of whatever you've accumulated with one character, and the game encourages you to change things round and get different experiences. With, say, an RPG, a much greater concern is how you deal with the XP / loot / etc - in other words, that sense of accumulation and progression.

 

1) Introduce view changes early

2) Never spend too long with one character

3) Break off at appropriate times - this means when the character has just finished a major action (Jack finished the bank job and heads home, cut to Jill) or at the begining of a reaction (Roberto walks into the factory and finds his informant dead, cut to Jack)

 

While this might not apply to Kaftan's OP, I thought FF6 did this the best - all three of these rules are followed, and you end up juggling a massive cast (all with different gameplay styles, backstories and personalities) quite competently.

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Some of my favourite parts of Kotor2 was when I got rid of the exile and could lead parties with other team members ;)

 

Same thing goes for Jagged Alliance 2. I don't always need a "protagonist", just a good story.

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I think it would be cool to have a game take place over multiple generations: play the first part of the game as the father, the second as the son, and finish the game as the granddaughter. This also means that romances can be more significant, since the girl you get cozy with in one part could be your mom in the next one, and will influence what choices you have for that second character.

Check out Dragon Quest V.

 

Okay, I checked it out on wikipedia.

 

1. That's not what I had in mind. The kids only show up at the end, and aren't all that important.

 

2. The story appears to be a chain of cliches, each one jammed up the butt of the next one. ;)

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Depends on the gameplay, I think. I think it's especially good for adventure or FPS games where your character & abilities don't change that much anyway - you don't feel like you're cheated of whatever you've accumulated with one character, and the game encourages you to change things round and get different experiences. With, say, an RPG, a much greater concern is how you deal with the XP / loot / etc - in other words, that sense of accumulation and progression.

 

I believe this is a problem with RPGs in general. cRPGs are based on PnP RPGs which were based on wargames, and carry unnecessary baggage from both.

 

For me, the important part of an RPG is the ability to customize your character and to express that character through various choices that have meaningful consequences in the world. You don

"When is this out. I can't wait to play it so I can talk at length about how bad it is." - Gorgon.

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Some of my favourite parts of Kotor2 was when I got rid of the exile and could lead parties with other team members ;)

I feel just the opposite. Within the limits of the character creation process in Kotor 2, the exile was my character. Although Atton, Mira, Canderous, etc. were good NPCs, I wanted to only interact with them, not be them.

 

I suppose it depends on the type of game. If it's a role-playing game, and I can only create one character, then I want to role-play the character I create.

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I suppose it depends on the type of game. If it's a role-playing game, and I can only create one character, then I want to role-play the character I create.

Come to think of it, it might have something to do with me preferring party based adventuring when it comes to crpgs.

 

People gushing over me and telling me how chosen I am makes my tastebuds hurt ;)

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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I was thinking about building the narrative of a singleplayer game through several different characters, as is done in Longest journey: Dreamfall or Fahrenheit/Indigo prophecy. A game where you as a player jump into a different character for this and that stretch of the game and experience the story from several perspectives throughout. TV and films do this sort of thing all the time, but its not that common in gaming.

 

To clarify, Im not talking about switching between characters in a party or group. What Im suggesting is a game where you for one part play say a policeman, and other parts you play a journalist and others a drugdealer. Each a separate character, but that plays a part in the large story that sees the fates of all these characters tied together in the end.

 

I'm initially positive towards this idea, but it requires more of the developer, as many have already mentioned.. I am however somewhat against it if you only have this idea as a starting point and then try to build a story around it, I think it'll seem forced and constructed then. Stories start with good stories, not conceptual ideas imho.

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I suppose it depends on the type of game. If it's a role-playing game, and I can only create one character, then I want to role-play the character I create.

Come to think of it, it might have something to do with me preferring party based adventuring when it comes to crpgs.

 

People gushing over me and telling me how chosen I am makes my tastebuds hurt ;)

Well, party-based games and games that make you play any specific party member as the "main" character for great stretches are two different things. I have no problem with having a NPC in my party who's skills and talents and/or personality benefit the party in some or way, or if I just like having them around. What I don't particularly like is being made to play that NPC as part of the story for great lengths of time. In Kotor 2,

when I had to rescue the exile from G0-T0's yacht, it was well written and I liked it, but as an option, why couldn't my exile fight her way out instead?

That would have also been fun

I took this job because I thought you were just a legend. Just a story. A story to scare little kids. But you're the real deal. The demon who dares to challenge God.

So what the hell do you want? Don't seem to me like you're out to make this stinkin' world a better place. Why you gotta kill all my men? Why you gotta kill me?

Nothing personal. It's just revenge.

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Dreamfall is an example how multiple characters should not be handled. If one uses more than one protagonist, gave them ample story time in the game to make their appearance meaningful. One of the characters in the game had like 10% play time and was given a sudden change of heart which was downright embarassing due to the way the game was structured around the three characters.

 

Indigo Prophecy did this admirably by showing how the story developed with all three characters throughout the game and made them eventually come together naturally. Dreamfall's "convergence" scene was just forced as it was unclear what the importance was to the main story.

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Didn't early Resident Evil games do something like this too? You could play through the game from the perspective of two characters and depending on which character you played first, parts of the game would change for the second character.

 

I think it was RE2, which I tried to play, but I couldn't get past the controls.

 

I think it would be interesting to see in a RPG, where perhaps you control one protagonist throughout a portion of the story and then at a certain point they form a party and you would essentially role play that party, determining who speaks and interacts with whom or what. I thought that was pretty fun in Storm of Zehir where you could choose who spoke.

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Like everything it jsut depends on how you use it. Both approaches can be good, although multiple main characters should be harder to do well.

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I don't see why it shouldn't work.

 

As long as it's handled properly, you get time to know the character and develop it yourself and they're aren't too many then it could be very cool.

 

Working as three characters towards a common goal, and when you reach it the decisions you make impact on what character you play next... yeah I'm warming to that. It's a whole new way of looking to what we previously called 'NPCs'...

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I've seen a lot of this in Japanese games.

 

They did this in Dragon Quest IV and Mother 3, in both cases for the purpose of splitting you between different perspectives to control the rate at which you got pieces of story information.

 

Suikoden III does this fairly well (imo).

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Some of my favourite parts of Kotor2 was when I got rid of the exile and could lead parties with other team members :deadhorse:

 

I just loved that part of the game, wish they did that in K1. Revan and two other Party Members find Bastila while Juhani, Jolee, and someone other Party Member find Malak, or somesuch.

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